We learnt as Kop end Blues’ unbeaten run
Liverpool are top four contenders In each of Liverpool’s opening three fixtures, the result did not quite do them justice. They were better than the one goal margin against Arsenal, dominant in defeat to Burnley and should have beaten an off-colour Tottenham at White Hart Lane.
It all properly came together for them last weekend against Leicester and now, this performance should make their top four credentials clear. This is, on its day, an excellent team and one that should be playing Champions League football next season
Lapses in concentration are costing Conte’s defence Before this meeting, Chelsea had conceded just seven shots on target in the Premier League this season, the least of any team. Impressive, you might think, until you noticed the number ‘4’ in their ‘goals conceded’ column.
When they let their fifth of the campaign, Dejan Lovren’s 17th-minute opener, the Liverpool centre-back was one of three unmarked red shirts queuing up to notch at the far post. All of them had been left there by a daydreaming defence.
A lapse in concentration had cost them, just as it did at Swansea last weekend (yes, Gary Cahill was fouled by Leroy Fer, but he should not have allowed it to happen). Conte must iron out these errors.
Mignolet is still an accident waiting to happen Klopp’s show of faith in Simon Mignolet is commendable but, like against Leicester last weekend, there were moments when you wondered whether such loyalty is naïve.
The Belgian goalkeeper was rarely called into action, but still managed to shank one kick after putting himself under needless pressure in the first half, and then dropped a cross on his penalty spot to send the away end into a flutter.
Loris Karius is waiting and, rightly or wrongly, will not be handed the gloves until Mignolet cocks up properly. By that point, it may have cost Liverpool.
Klopp’s ‘soft middle’ can be exposed While their front three may be frightening, Liverpool’s midfield can leave their back four watching from between their fingers. Jordan Henderson makes an admirable effort of shielding his defence, but neither he nor Georginio Wijanldum or Adam Lallana offer enough protection.
Many were disappointed not to see a left-back arrive at Anfield during the transfer window, but few realised that Klopp also overlooked his side’s soft middle. Chelsea did too, and did not spend enough time probing through the centre until their second-half fightback.
Emre Can, who matured in the holding role last season, is currently being nursed back to fitness. For Liverpool, the sooner he returns, the better.
Expect more of the same from David Luiz It was only his first game back at Stamford Bridge but on this evidence, David Luiz learnt little from his two years in Paris. It’s the same, harum scarum stuff from the Brazilian who, given the timing of his return, was surely not too high on Conte’s list of defensive targets.
He is, at least, a trier and did not sulk like many of his Stamford Bridge teammates when Liverpool were in the ascendancy. The relationship between Chelsea’s players and support has been fractious in recent times. Luiz’s character, if not his defending, can help bridge that gap.
– The Independent